COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Allison Jones sat on the track of the velodrome that will be used for the 2012 Paralympics in London. For a few captivating moments, she saw herself at the starting line, she heard the roar of the frenzied crowd and she got a glimpse of herself blazing across the finish.
In reality, "it was dead empty," Jones said, adding that "there was nothing. There wasn't a mark on the track, yet I could see all this. I was at race day, having that excitement."
The Olympic Training Center resident recently joined six other Olympic and Paralympic champions on trips to London to visit Olympic venues and tourist destinations, part of a U.S. Olympic Committee online initiative to trigger more interest in the Summer Games.
A 20-episode web series, "Team USA: Britain Bound," kicked off last month, with new videos released every week at teamusa.org/britainbound highlighting Jones, a four-time Paralympic medalist who claimed a silver in road cycling in 2008, a gold in Alpine skiing in 2006 and two Alpine silvers in 2002, as well as Henry Cejudo, a Coronado High School graduate and a former OTC wrestler. Also in the group are Paralympic track and field star Jeremy Campbell, decathlete Bryan Clay, gymnast Nastia Liukin, soccer player Heather Mitts and swimmer Rebecca Soni.
Pictures, personal anecdotes and social media feeds are on the website -- a collaboration between the USOC and VisitBritain, the national tourism board of Great Britain, with financial support by USOC sponsors Samsung and Hilton. A video posted Monday shows Jones sightseeing at the Tower of London and traveling down the River Cam in Cambridge, and she also toured 10 Downing St., the home of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and tested her acting skills at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
"I had a blast," Jones said about her first time in London. She said "there really are a lot of cool places," noting she got to "get a sense of the culture and know a little bit more of the back story of some of the buildings and some of the history of London."
Born without a right femur, Jones, 27, stands a realistic chance of qualifying for her sixth Paralympics, boasting a gold in the individual pursuit and a bronze in the individual time trial at the Para-cycling track world championships in March and golds in the time trial and the road race at the Paralympic road national championships in June. She'll compete next at the Parapan American Games, which open Saturday in Guadalajara, Mexico.
"There is a shock to every time I go" to the Paralympics, said Jones, a 2007 Denver graduate. "Some of the awe has worn off a little bit. I'm more used to it, and I'm used to hearing the people. But I still love it. I still absolutely love it when you get the big crowds out there and get the people out there. ... No matter how many times I've been to the Games, it's still a really awesome experience to go back and get to be a part of it."